Imphal, July 25: The Kuki National Organisation (KNO), a Kuki militant group that signed Suspension of Operations agreement with the government, reasserted its demand for a separate Kuki state to enjoy their rights.
Anton Kuki, home secretary of the KNO, reiterated the demand of the Kukis for a separate state, while addressing Martyrs’ Day function of the Kuki National Army (KNA), organised yesterday at the designated Hermon camp at Chehlep village in Chandel district, about 80km from Imphal.
The KNA is the military wing of the KNO, which is among the 20 Kuki militant groups having a Suspension of Operations agreement with the government.
The Martyrs’ Day function was organised to pay respect to the 167 cadres of the group, who died between 1990 and 2012.
Senior leaders of other groups having suspension of operation and relatives of the KNA cadres, who had been killed, attended the programme. Gun salutes were given to the departed cadres of the group. Relatives from other districts came in bus and other vehicles to attend the programme.
The president of Kuki Inpi, Myanmar Khailun Haokip attended the programme and a Kuki singer from Tamu of Myanmar, Ng. Lhainei, performed at the function.
Assam Rifles, India Reserve Battalion and police personnel were deployed along the route to the camp during the programme.
Armed with sophisticated weapons, cadres of the KNA guarded the spacious camp to ensure peace on a day of mourning. Anton Kuki said, “If Kukis do not have a separate land for proper administration, they cannot enjoy and exercise their rights.”
“The seeds of Kuki land have been sown and they will germinate. One day we will reap the fruits,” he said.
Kuki National Front, another militant group having suspension of operations and now in a designated camp in Senapati district, also has a similar demand for a Kuki state, comprising more than half of the total geographical area in Manipur.
The KNO was founded in 1988 and the KNA’s commander-in-chief Thangkholun Haokip went to Kachin to train in guerrilla warfare from the Kachin Independent Army of Myanmar, and was assassinated on July 24, 1992.
Martyrs’ Day is observed every year on the day Thangkholun was killed.
The KNA has been demanding a separate Kuki state both in India and Myanmar.
Before signing the Suspension of Operations agreement, KNA cadres carried out attacks on security forces both in Myanmar and Manipur.